I’ve been hearing a lot in the news about Chinese drywall – WHAT’S THE STORY?.............
There are a few things we know about the imported drywall brought in from China in the past 3-4 years, and few we don’t.
First – The things we know: When we were busy rebuilding after Katrina we ran short on our normal supplies of drywall. To cover the shortage we imported a comparatively small amount (by percentage) of drywall from China. It’s this product that has hit the news recently. We also know that it appears that the Sulfide levels contained in some of this imported drywall (not ALL) is much higher than that manufactured in The Americas (we get the majority of our imported drywall from Mexico and Canada normally). The areas that appear to be affected most from the Chinese drywall are the Gulf States and Southern California. In truth – we’re not quite sure if these are the only geographic areas involved, but it is assured that these states listed are involved. The problem came to attention when occupants began smelling a “rotten egg” odor with no know source. It became further evident as it degraded copper products within the homes that contained the problem drywall product.
The degradation of copper products within buildings is a known effect of this product, and is usually the first sign the problem may exist. A/C A-frame coils have turned black, failed and have had to be replaced. Coolant lines have had to be replaced because of failures and corrosion on their surfaces. Copper plumbing turned black and began to develop pinhole leaks within wall cavities. Electric wiring and fixtures turned black (even within the insulation) began to fail in some of the worst affected buildings.
These effects are due to the off-gassing of the sulfides and their combination with moisture (mostly high humidity in the Gulf States - where most of the Chinese drywall had been shipped). The good news is that in Southern Nevada we do not develop the conditions naturally that produce the greatest effect from the Sulfides. That does not mean that it couldn’t happen here. It’s does mean that it is much less likely to occur and would most likely produce a lesser effect here.
People also began to be concerned about what they were breathing within their own homes. This is the unknown part of this product’s effects. Although health studies are being performed, none have been able to conclude one way or the other that this does, indeed, create a health concern. Florida is conducting their own study, and other states affected are beginning to do the same.
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Rest assured - It will be ALL over the news if health concerns can be proven!
How can you find out if you have it? The drywall can be opened to look for labels indicating origin. A bulk sample can be taken of the wall board and sent into a qualified lab for analysis to confirm Sulfide levels. This is a rather expense process (approx $800/sample) and can take up to 2 weeks to get results back. The analysis is performed using gas spectromicrography; where the product is converted to a gas and analyzed by its elements to give the scale by which the result of its exact content is obtained.
What can be done about the situation if you find your building contains the problem Chinese drywall ?
First – Don’t panic!
The likelihood that Chinese drywall is present is very very small in Arizona Call Westlife and have an evaluation made to find out for sure.
What can be done if you think that Sulfides may be affecting your health? We can sample the air for Sulfides (costs are similar to testing the drywall and processes actually tests the air for content) and your physician can then determine if the levels found pose a health hazard.
….Call my cell, if you need more information.